We’re all about “green” living at Clean ‘n’ Fresh, and with spring in the air, we know many are ready to garden.
So how about taking a “green” approach this year with a small compost pile? Through this method, organic material – such as fallen leaves, grass clippings and kitchen scraps – can be reused. They decompose and when given time, they can be a great nutrient to your garden this year.
Composting can be as big or small as you want it. And it can be as complicated. There are many products out there to purchase, from small compost keepers to large tumblers. Those turn material into compost more quickly. And since compost can attract bugs, they can keep the pesty things away.
According to Greenlivinganswers.com, there are four ingredients to proper composting: organic matter, correct moisture, sufficient oxygen and bacteria.
The organic matter can be split into two categories: “green” (coffee grounds, green yard clippings, vegetable and fruit waste) and “brown” (dead leaves, twigs and manure).
You’ll also need to add water during dry seasons (so, quite possibly, lots in Arizona) and make sure to stir up the compost to give it good oxygen every few weeks.
Then, there’s time. Be patient, especially when you start. Perhaps use a smaller trash bag to test out your first composting efforts. If you want to take that approach, the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension recommends putting leaves and lawn clippings, along with vegetable and fruit leftovers, and layering them like you would in a compost container. Then, add water, tie the bag, and turn it over every few weeks.
The Arizona Master Gardener Manual (a great source for advice), said it could take four to five months for the material to breakdown before it can be used. It will be, “black and crumbly, like good soil, with a pleasant earthy smell.”
For more help, check out the manual online: ag.arizona.edu/pubs/garden/mg/soils/improving.html. There are also several classes and websites that offer information.